Naturelog 12 January

Posted: January 21, 2019 in Birds, Natural History
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As we did last year Sue and I started the year off with a week in Weymouth in Dorset. On the way from London, we stopped off at Blashford Lakes in Hampshire. This gem of a reserve we discovered for the first time on the way home from Dorset last year.

Our first stop was Ibsey water but apart from a party of Linnets, a Little Grebe and some distant gulls, most of which seemed to be Lesser Black-backed and Herring gulls there was not a lot to be seen.

We then went to the Woodland hide, where a number of species were attending the feeder station. Unfortunately, unlike last year, there were no Brambling or Bullfinches. However, a stunning male Siskin and a Coal Tit did oblige us.

Finally, we went to Ivy South Hide. Here we looked over one of the large lakes with its Cormorant roosting tree. A Great White Egret flew into the reeds at the edge but there was no sign of the Bittern which had been seen earlier in the afternoon.

Cormorant roosting tree
Great White Egret

We then spent some time looking for a Yellow-Browed Warbler, once a rare passage migrant, but now a few are wintering in the UK. On this occasion I wasn’t successful, but there are other opportunities as there are two birds wintering in Weymouth, one on each of the town’s RSPB reserves.

Time was getting on and we needed to continue on our journey so we had to leave Blashford and continue our journey.

Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Merganser [sp] (Mergus merganser)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Egret [sp] (Ardea alba)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
Common Linnet [sp] (Linaria cannabina)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Eurasian Siskin (Spinus spinus)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Jumbo Water Tower

Posted: January 18, 2019 in History
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Vidoeo by Alice Goss

A Roman chariot stadium in Colchester Esssex

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The Colchester Sphinx was discovered in 1821 near the Balkerne Gate, It is a small statue of a mythical creature with a human head between its claws and was carved from British stone. It is still an object of some mystery but is probably from the 2nd century AD and most recent suggestions are that it was a ‘grave guardian’ from a military tomb. It is on display in Colchester Castle Museum.

The Romans in Colchester (3)

Posted: January 15, 2019 in Essex, History, Roman History, UK
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Another thing that stood out for me from our recent visit to Colchester Museum was the examples of locally manufactured goods, particularly Glassware and pottery.

 

 

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Also some examples of fine mosaics found locally

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Some interesting religious connections from our trip to Colchester

Butt Road Church

 

The Apse at Butt Road church.

The Apse at Butt Road church.

In the 1980’s during the building of the new police station, a cemetery of 371 graves together with a narrow building were discovered. The original building dates from 320 to 340 A.D. The original building was rectangular in shape and an apse was a later addition. Whether it was originally a Christian church or whether it was converted to this function at a later date is unclear. If the former is the correct interpretation than the date 340 would make it the earliest known Christian church in Britain.

The body of Butt Road church

The body of Butt Road church

 

An artists impression of what Butt Road church would have looked like (Colchester Museum)

An artists impression of what Butt Road church would have looked like (Colchester Museum)

Longinus originally came from the area of modern Bulgaria and was a member of the First Thracian cavalry, which had come to Britain with the original invasion force. He rose to the rank of Duplicarius, second in command of a unit of 32 men. He was 40 when he died in A.D. 55.

The tombstone of Longinus (Colchester Museum)

The tombstone of Longinus (Colchester Museum)

 

Impression of what it might have looked like when new

Impression of what it might have looked like when new

Marcus Flavonius Facilis was the centurion in the 20th legion, when he died in A.D. 43, a few years after the invasion. The style of Tombstone comes from the Rhineland, where the 20th legion had been stationed prior to the invasion of Britain.

the tombstone of Marcus Flavonius Facilis (Colchester Museum)

the tombstone of Marcus Flavonius Facilis (Colchester Museum)

 

Impression of what it might have looked like when new

Impression of what it might have looked like when new

 

The Romans in Colchester (1)

Posted: January 14, 2019 in Essex, History, Roman History, UK
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Map of Roman Colchester

Map of Roman Colchester

A trip with the History group to Colchester in Essex.

Prior to the arrival of the Romans in Britain, Camulodunum had been the Royal seat of Cunobelin, Leader of the Trinovantes. When the Roman invaded in 43AD the Emperor Claudius himself (during his brief 14 day visit) led the Roman legions into the settlement, where they proceeded to construct a legionary fortress on the high ground overlooking the Trinovantes settlement, In the initial years of the Roman conquest this newly founded Roman settlement served as the capital of the province of Britannia.

By 49AD it had become a civilian colonia named Colonia Claudia and the military presence was mostly comprised of retired soldiers. A dispute in AD60 with the Iceni following the death of their king led to his widow Boudica leading the Iceni and the Trinovantes against the colonia. It was ill-prepared and the rebels stormed through the city burning and killing. Those that could took refuge in the Temple of Claudius, on the site of the current castle. Here they held out for 2 days waiting for relief that never came and finally the rebels burnt it down and massacred any survivors.

Model of Temple of Claudius (Colchester Museum)

Model of Temple of Claudius (Colchester Museum)

Roman helmet from destruction layer of AD60 (Colchester Museum)

Roman helmet from destruction layer of AD60 (Colchester Museum)

Building Material from destruction layer of AD60 (Colchester Museum)

Building Material from destruction layer of AD60 (Colchester Museum)

The colonia was rebuilt following the suppression of the rebellion, but lost it status as provincial capital to the fast growing settlement of Londinium. During this rebuilding a city wall was added to ensure that the city would never be undefensible again.

Roman city wall

Roman city wall

Balkerne Gate, Colchester. Built as one of the entrances through the city wall. It originally had 4 arches, two for pedestrians and two for traffic. This made it the largest entrance arch found in the UK. Today only one pedestrian arch survives as part of a stretch of the Roman city wall.

Balkerne Gate, Colchester. Built as one of the entrances through the city wall. It originally had 4 arches, two for pedestrians and two for traffic. This made it the largest entrance arch found in the UK. Today only one pedestrian arch survives as part of a stretch of the Roman city wall.

Colchester, Essex

Posted: January 14, 2019 in Announcements
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I am away for the whole of this week so in my absence, the blog will be focusing on the ancient town of Colchester in Essex with a combination of videos and previous posts from the blog.

Video by The Little Backpacker

Synchronised flying

Posted: January 11, 2019 in Birds, Natural History
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Continuing my delve back into old posts. Here is one of my favourite pictures which Sue took in 2013 in the Thames Valley.

Mute Swan photo by Sue